We reached Leh from Sarchu at evening around 5pm and decided to stroll down the market
Our impromptu booking option for stay was Zostel but it was fully occupied so stayed at this amazing hotel next to it - Karakoram Hotel which had fast working wifi and 24h hot water - A rare availability at all hotels in Leh!
After some research we found out that we cannot head to Nubra- Pangong trip directly and need to take the next day off to acclamatise and obtain the permits!
We thought it was the perfect opportunity to tick off bike riding in Leh and rented a bike for RS. 1000 for 24h for that evening till the next day.
1. You cannot take your self driven / non- JK number plate car outside of Leh city and need to book the local taxis / tourist vehicles to go to Nubra and Pangong.
2. If you are doing a DIY book yourself tour like us, for the 2N / 3D trip to Pangong & Nubra you need to enquire at the Travel agency offices on the main market road and enroll your names for the shared car at a couple of places to ensure you are picked for the immediate next day in one of the groups if you don't have your own group.
They charge approx. 19,000 for the entire trip and find you travel partners to share the costs with a total of 5-6 travellers in one car.
Most of the vehicles available are Scorpio/ Xylo and quite comfortable for 6 travellers as well.
We enrolled at 2 places and got our booking confirmation the next day for this.
3. These agents also help you sort the permits - which also takes about a day to acquire as the permit office opens at 10am the next day whereas most of the tours leave at 8am so sort this with the travel company you book the Nubra - Pangong package from prior.
We went around Leh city to cover some spots nearby -
Thiskey Monastery- visit at sunset time to get best views
Leh Palace - kind of in ruins now but has a nice view from the top
And decided to head to Alchi village about 70 kms from Leh
Some of the stops we took to the below attractions enroute Alchi were
- Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
- Sangam - confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers (this was quite muddy during our visit and on research got to know that it only looks clean and beautiful in winters)
- Magnetic Hill - where you can rent drive dirt bikes and experience the magnetic force phenomenon
We finally made it to Alchi village to witness beautiful small white houses cutely tucked in the hills and a series of beautiful monastries!
It takes about 2 hours to get to Alchi with the above stops and about 1.5 hours to come back.